Adventurous Argyll in running for global tourism award

A campaign to raise the profile of Argyll and the Isles as an adventure destination has captured international attention.

Photograph by: Kieran J Duncan / Wild About ArgyllMark Beaumont on the top of The Cobbler looking back towards Glasgow and the Clyde

The ‘Wild About Argyll’ campaign, featuring Scottish endurance cyclist and record-breaker Mark Beaumont, has been named as a finalist in the Place Brand of the Year category at the City Nation Place Awards.

The global awards celebrate destinations that have shown exemplary work in attracting tourism, driving economic development and engaging people.

Argyll and the Isles will fight against other top destinations across the world including Toronto and Copenhagen to take the coveted prize sponsored by the New York Times at a global conference in London on 9 November 2017.

The ‘Wild About Argyll’ campaign, launched in 2016, was the brainchild of Argyll and the Isles Tourism Cooperative (AITC) after it recognised the region needed a new brand focus.

Focusing on the lucrative Adventure Seeker market AITC engaged cyclist and adventurer Mark Beaumont on an ambitious 12-day journey across the entire region, involving 12 different sports, 32 individual adventures and an epic challenge every single day.

The result wasa series of promotional films that have been seen by over 1.6m people online, over 1.1m subway users in Glasgow, 200,000 cinema-goers across the central belt and 15,000 people per day departing Edinburgh Airport.

Mark Beaumont

The online campaign has reached almost 2 million people and has driven more than half a million engagements (likes, comments, shares).

The hashtag #wildaboutargyll had over 3.7 million impressions on Twitter alone within a week of the launch and the Explore Argyll website has seen a 79 per cent increase in traffic from Millennials, the key target market for the campaign.

“Wild About Argyll was such an inspiring project to be at the heart of, I was blown away by the pride and enthusiasm from everyone in the region, it felt like this publicity campaign had been crying out to happen, lifting the stone on an untold treasure in Scotland,” said Mark Beaumont.

“But this is easy to say in hindsight, it took real insight, a huge amount of hard work and logistics to pull off a campaign that looked brilliantly simple and immediately inspiring, and yet was hugely ambitious and collaborative behind the scenes.

“Argyll has been overlooked as a wilderness destination. It may have been known for its sailors and empty nesters, but Argyll and the West Coast Isles have amazing landscapes and sports – and people have been missing one of Scotland best adventure playgrounds.  Wild About Argyll has turned that on its head.”

As a result of the campaign’s success in attracting visitors the brand has allowed Argyll and the Isles Tourism Co-operative to secure a three-year funding package from Highlands and Islands Enterprise for 2017-2020 to develop the adventure product linked to food and drink and events and festivals.

“As soon as we read the proposal for the ‘Wild About Argyll’ campaign, we were excited, but it was a whole new market and direction for the region and with that comes a good deal of risk,” said Malcolm Roughead, Chief Executive of VisitScotland.

“That calculated risk has paid off immensely and we are absolutely delighted that Argyll and the Isles Tourism Cooperative has been recognised for its work in completely revolutionising the place brand for the region.”

Winners will be selected by an international panel of judges and announced at the City Nation Place conference in London on Thursday 9 November 2017.